Eric Thomas Ropiteau

Eric Thomas  Ropiteau
World Trade Center

Discovered on a Skateboard

It could be said that Eric T. Ropiteau, who was 24, cruised into his New York life. On a skateboard, in fact.

He was riding along a Downtown street a little more than a year ago, visiting a friend in the city, when a photographer spotted him and urged him to pursue a modeling career. Mr. Ropiteau, who stood 6-feet-4 and had deep brown eyes, signed right up. Later, when he looked around for something else, a classmate from the University of Vermont, from which he graduated in 2000, suggested he apply for an opening at TradeSpark, a subsidiary of Cantor Fitzgerald. He began working there last June, at first sharing a computer with his friend, Joshua M. Piver.

Ebullient and outgoing, he loved to draw and to give things names: his car was White Rhino and a bonsai tree he bought in early September with his girlfriend, Fabienne Schultness, became Herbert. He, Mr. Piver and two of their friends signed a lease for a big apartment in Park Slope, Brooklyn, on Sept. 10. Afterward, he called his mother, Barbara R. Galloway. "Mom!" he told her. "I have Perma-grin. Did you hear me, Mom? I have Perma-grin."

Ms. Galloway said yes, she heard him. "He was so happy," she said. "Everything was going so well."

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on February 24, 2002.

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